Period tracker apps are sharing sensitive data with Facebook, research reveals
11 September 2019, 17:11 | Updated: 11 September 2019, 17:17
Shocking new research suggests menstrual tracking apps are sharing sensitive user data with Facebook.
UK-based advocacy group Privacy International has conducted research that shows some period tracker apps are sharing sensitive data with Facebook.
The report, which was initially published on BuzzFeed News, revealed that deeply personal data on women's sexual practices and menstrual cycles was being shared by apps with the social media platform.
What's more, details on monthly symptoms and preferred contraception have reportedly been offered up.
Privacy International say: "Out of the 36 apps we tested, we found that 61% automatically transfer data to Facebook the moment a user opens the app.
"This happens whether the user has a Facebook account or not, and whether they are logged into Facebook or not.
"We also found that some of those apps routinely send Facebook incredibly detailed and sometimes sensitive personal data.
"Again, it didn’t matter if people were logged out of Facebook or didn’t have an account."
The sharing is made possible through the Facebook Software Development Kit (SDK).
In an email to Privacy International dated 29 December 2018, Facebook explained: “Developers can receive analytics that allow them to understand what the audience of their app enjoys and improve their apps over time.
"Developers may also use Facebook services to monetise their apps through Facebook Audience Network.
"Subject to that Facebook user's prior consent, Facebook may also use this data to provide that user with more personalised ads.”
What is most attractive about this data is the ability to gauge users' moods - and whether a person is more or less likely to buy.
After BuzzFeed News reached out to Facebook, they were told the social media platform had gotten in touch with Privacy International to identify and discuss possible violations of its terms of service.